Saturday, March 05, 2005

Racine's Own Pride and Joy

Milwaukee Brewers' Minor League Player of the Year, Vinny Rottino, has been turning heads yet again within the organization. Here are a couple excerpts from the Journal Sentinel and the Brewers' web site.

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Catching on: Because the rest of the Brewers were preparing for the intrasquad game, minor-leaguer Vinny Rottino caught Sheets during the batting practice session.

Rottino, a native of Racine, hit .304 with a record 124 RBI for Class A Beloit last year, began catching during instructional play last season and will still play other positions.

"I was really impressed watching Vinny catch today," Yost said. "I knew they were moving him around. I wasn't sure what he would look like behind the plate. I told Reid (Nichols, the farm director) that I was very impressed with where Vinny is at with that right now. He looked very smooth receiving the ball."

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Pre-workout work: Ben Sheets, Doug Davis and Gary Glover all threw side sessions on Wednesday morning. Sheets and Davis have been taking it easy on their lower backs, and Glover is playing catchup after missing last weekend to attend the birth of his son.

After warming up, Sheets threw for about 10 minutes and looked "really good," according to Yost. The Brewers are taking it slow with their ace, who is coming off back surgery, and have yet to announce when he will make his Cactus League debut.

The early work offers some minor leaguers a chance to impress Yost and his coaches. Tuesday's standout was Wisconsin native Vinnie Rottino, a super-utility man who caught Sheets' session.

"I was impressed watching Vinnie catch," Yost said. "I knew they were going to attempt to move Vinnie and I thought he would be a lot rougher than he was. His receiving looks good. His setup is nice."

Rottino, who hit .304 last season with 17 homers and 124 RBIs at Class A Beloit, is on the list of minor leaguers expected to suit up for split-squad games on Friday.

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Nothing but high praises for Vinny so far which is great to see. He did manage to get into the game against the Mariners on Friday. He pinch ran for Geoff Jenkins and scored from second on a double. He then made his first and only plate appearance later on and grounded into a tough luck 5-3 double play to end an inning.

If I was a betting man, of which I am, I would predict that he will begin the season with AA Huntsville. I think it is almost considered a lock at this point to be skipped over the A+ team at Brevard County. He will get plenty of playing time there, but the real question is what position he will be playing. It will be interesting to see how things pan out for him this year, whether or not he will find a permanent position to stick at.

He will probably be looked at extensively behind the plate this year based on the articles above. He could also see a lot of time at third base this season as well. He could also see more action at first base after Travis Hinton, the would-be likely starter there, was traded to the Chicago White Sox as part of the Carlos Lee deal. It is no coincidence that catcher and third base are the two positions of biggest need within the organization. It only makes sense to try him out at these spots to maximize his potential. It doesn't hurt to try and turn a weaker position in the organization into potentially one of strength. If he can display enough of an arm behind the plate, he will likely succeed, because he definitely can acquire the thought process of being able to call a game.

4 Comments:

Blogger Brett said...

Thanks for the link to Brew Grit, I have one for your site on mine now as well. Go Crew.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there HotRod,

Did you ever get to see Vinny play at UW-L?

He was really good. I hope he makes it, he deserves it. He worked really hard to get where he is.

Andy from http://twins.mostvaluablenetwork.com

12:56 PM  
Blogger Hot Rod said...

Yeah, I did see him quite a bit at UWL, especially, his in his freshman and sophomore years. I particularily remember a game I went to against UW-Milwaukee and he held his own very well as a freshman. He is a tireless worker.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happened to stumble upon this site looking for updates on Rottino! i played all 4 collegiate seasons with Vinnie at UW-L - he is probably better than most think. He is surley a tireless worker, and I beleive he will get even better. Rumor through good sources say Rottino should see AA, then AAA next yr with possibly a cup of coffee at Miller Park!! I know Vinnie can do it. Go Crew!!

12:43 PM  

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